De Paul hopes Messi, Tapia stop coach Scaloni from resigning

Buenos Aires, Nov 22 (EFE).- Atletico de Madrid’s Argentine midfielder Rodrigo de Paul appeared shocked by the possible resignation of coach Lionel Scaloni and hoped that both the president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, and captain, Leo Messi, would talk to him.

“He has to talk to ‘Chiqui’ Tapia. He is the head of the group. I imagine he will talk to Leo (Messi) too,” De Paul told reporters at the Ezeiza airport on Thursday upon the team’s return from Brazil after a 0-1 win in the World Cup 2026 qualifier.

The words of 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup-winning coach Scaloni sent a shockwave through Argentina despite their win in Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium, which ended Brazil’s unbeaten record in a World Cup qualifier at home.

“There’s something important I wanted to say, which is to stop the ball, to start thinking, I have a lot of things to think about.. it’s not goodbye or anything else, but I need to think because the bar is really high and it’s difficult to continue,” Scaloni said after the match.

De Paul said that all the players wanted Scaloni to continue because he was a very important architect of everything they had achieved in these years.

In the run-up to the match, there was a fight between the fans of both teams, which caused the police to intervene, a reaction that the Argentine players criticized.

When the players noticed it, they decided to come and support their fans and then left the field until the safety of those present was guaranteed.

“There were family and friends of ours in the stands. It’s crazy how they hit the Argentine fans. I never saw something like that up close. We made the right decision to defend our own fans because we are in the same boat. When they assured us that they were to stop everything, we continued,” said De Paul.

The former Racing Club or Valencia player added that they had to defend their fans and that they showed that they are also fans of Argentina.

The midfielder expressed his admiration for Lionel Messi, confirming that the latter played despite suffering a tear, as he did not want the Argentina team to lose its strength.

“He is our captain, yesterday (Wednesday) he played injured and did not leave us alone inside. He knows the importance he has in the group. It is a pride and admiration to have him with us,” he said.

De Paul expressed his hope that all Argentines would “remain united” at this time and that the situation would improve in the country. EFE


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